There’s a saying that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Our journey is certainly a reflection of this. Beginning in Hong Kong four years ago, with the birth of our son Ned, one visit to a paediatrician set the course of our life. This paved our long, unknown, but thankful road to AEIOU Foundation.
At 5:00am this morning, like every other Monday, I packed Ned, his sister Maddy, and myself into our car for the three-hour drive to Toowoomba. This is where we live temporarily three nights a week, so Ned has the opportunity to build the skills he needs to carve his own path in life. It sounds exhausting and in fact it is, but as parents, we know this is the best option so Ned can access life changing early intervention.
Our journey to AEIOU started three years ago when we were told by our paediatrician that Ned wasn’t hitting important developmental milestones. Our initial thoughts were ‘give him more time; each child’s pathway is different.’
An important seed was planted that day, one that continued to invade our thoughts. When we returned to Australia, where we intended to plant seeds of our own on a farm five hours west of Brisbane, we saw Ned’s needs become increasingly greater. We knew we needed to take immediate action. Ned was diagnosed with autism soon after.
Ned’s diagnosis was overwhelming for my husband Robert and I. What would the future look like for our darling boy? How could such a little person navigate our world? But, at the same time, we knew a diagnosis meant the start of a path forward, but it certainly hasn’t been a straight path for our family.
As you might imagine, there are very few therapy choices where we live. What we tried initially did not help Ned at all; therapists coming and going infrequently, who were not specialised in early intervention and gains for Ned were very minimal. As every parent can imagine, we continued our search to find the best option for Ned. Eventually, we found AEIOU, and we knew immediately, we were on the right course. We knew that the 250km distance would create a challenge for our family, but this was a chance we had to take. We had to do everything we could to help Ned.
“The journey to AEIOU from our home in Glenmorgan is so long on those early mornings, but I would drive twice as far for Ned knowing the progress he is making…”
Since starting AEIOU in January, Ned’s skills have grown at an incredible rate. He has come so far in his journey, but our sense is that it is just the beginning for him. The world is becoming his oyster and the possibilities of what he can achieve grow greater each and every day.
The sacrifices our whole family make have been worth it for Ned. We have a live-in nanny who cares for our eldest daughter Adele. Robert is busy managing our property and I stay in Toowoomba with Ned and Maddy.
At the end of Ned’s AEIOU week, we all drive back home. Back to the rolling hills and sprawling land, where we recharge to do it all again next week.
We are so fortunate to have this opportunity for Ned, and our wish is that more families have the same access to vital early intervention therapy and care. With your continued support, AEIOU can fulfil their mission of helping children with autism live their best lives. It is impossible to express our gratitude knowing that Ned has a future filled with possibilities, and we now dare to dream of a life of acceptance, inclusion, and opportunities for our precious boy.
(loving mother of Ned)